A Los Angeles Celebrity Vocal Empowerment Coach's Perspective on Sinéad's Letter to Miley
I'm sure by now you've heard about the letter well-respected artist, Sinéad O'Conner wrote to Miley Cyrus. The whole reason I began doing what I do here in LA over 10 years ago, and coined the term "Vocal Empowerment Coach" rather than just a vocal coach, is for the most part, because of the truth spoken in this letter that moved me to design a system to help people in more ways than hitting notes properly. Because I've seen so many incredible people with amazing talent not value who they are, and it broke my heart.
After having coached many singers in their vocal careers, and working in the Music Industry as a professional singer myself for over 20 years, I can say "Amen" and "thank you" to the letter below. If you haven't read it yet, and you are an aspiring artist - particularly a young woman, I advise you read it. Please let me know your thoughts about it. I stay silent on alot of media, but this time, I had to speak up, because this is in alignment with what I do.
Though Sinéad's made a bold, and courageous attempt to reach the singer, the letter obviously wasn't received well by Miely, who tweeted "stuff" I'm not even going to mention out of respect to a very upset Sinéad (you can read that nonsense elsewhere). Seems like other people have been writing reply letters....I wonder if Miley will apologize for what she did. Obviosly, Miley is proof that being a "star" doesn't make you empowered. And while she might appear "happy," we all know her days in the spotlight are numbered, and trust me when I say she will do all she can to stay there.
What are the Qualities an Artist Needs to Become Empowered and how do you get them?
CORE Vocal Power is about strengthening yourself on the inside (CORE); doing the inner work to create the favorable conditions for performing, as well as the outer work. That means: a MIND that is clear, a SOUL that feels self acceptance, and a VOICE that is free as a result.
After working with over thousands of singers, I found out that vocal exercises and technique are important, but if they aren't coming from a solid place on the inside, you'll always end up hitting a brick wall somewhere down the line. Even if you have a great voice, you likely won't feel the confidence to believe it's great, and as a result, self-sabotage. Or maybe you'll learn all the best vocal techniques, but you'll still find yourself not sounding great when you sing. That's because of what Sinead is talking about. She's referring to knowing who you are and making wise creative choices, instead of making foolish choices like many celebs do because they don't value themselves enough to really figure out what their unique gift is. Sex is the no brainer. Everyone knows sex sells, but how is that inspiring people to be better? How is that helping the world? How is it helping the artist - long term? O'Conner talks about this in her letter.
I say, when artists do their inner CORE work first, they have a solid foundation. They know who they are. They make empowering choices and can have longevity and enjoy their career. That is what I believe every artist deserves, and now in the Industry more than ever, artists have more freedom to do this.
I know it's not a perfect world out there, but it is possible to make changes. One has to be aligned, inspired, determined, passionate, patient and persistent to make these changes, which go far beyond vocal ability. Truth is, it's happening all the time, the media just chooses to cover news that sensationalizes and grabs our attention to control our MINDS. There are plenty of empowered artists who are making great music and wise choices. Click here to listen to one of my student's Eddie Grey perform.
When we practice how to have command over our own minds, through taking time each day to CONNECT in Quiet Confidence and get in touch with how we really feel, we won't be so quick to be fooled. My question is–did Sinéad really expect a positive response from Miley? My thoughts: It doesn't matter what Miley says. That letter is dedicated to all young female aspiring artists and artsist in the industry. She made a good point because she cares. After Miley Cyrus stated that Sinéad O'Conner's hit single, "Nothing Compares To You" inspired her "Wrecking Ball" video where she appears completely naked, O'Conner decided to give the controversial 20 year old some advice. The letter went viral, and I'm very glad about this. I'm so glad about it that I'm posting it in my own blog.
I wasn’t going to write this letter, but today i’ve been dodging phone calls from various newspapers who wished me to remark upon your having said in Rolling Stone your Wrecking Ball video was designed to be similar to the one for Nothing Compares… So this is what I need to say… And it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love.
I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way ‘cool’ to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos. It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether its the music business or yourself doing the pimping.
Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.
I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you.
“The music business doesn’t give a sh** about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted.. and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, ‘they’ will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone.
None of the men oggling you give a sh** about you either, do not be fooled. Many’s the woman mistook lust for love. If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a f*** about you. All the more true when you unwittingly give the impression you don’t give much of a f***about yourself. And when you employ people who give the impression they don’t give much of a f*** about you either. No one who cares about you could support your being pimped.. and that includes you yourself.
“Yes, I’m suggesting you don’t care for yourself. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you. This is a dangerous world. We don’t encourage our daughters to walk around naked in it because it makes them pray [sic] for animals and less than animals (a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and the associated media).
You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesn’t see things that way, they like things to be seen the other way, whether they are magazines who want you on their cover, or whatever.. Don’t be under any illusions.. ALL of them want you because they’re making money off your youth and your beauty.. which they could not do except for the fact your youth makes you blind to the evils of show business. If you have an innocent heart you can’t recognise those who do not.
I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give a flying f*** about you. They’re there for the money.. we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control.
You also said in Rolling Stone that your look is based on mine. The look I chose, I chose on purpose at a time when my record company were encouraging me to do what you have done. I felt I would rather be judged on my talent and not my looks. I am happy that I made that choice, not least because I do not find myself on the proverbial rag heap now that I am almost 47 yrs of age.. which unfortunately many female artists who have based their image around their sexuality, end up on when they reach middle age.
Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you. I needn’t even ask the question.. I’ve been in the business long enough to know that men are making more money than you are from you getting naked. Its really not at all cool. And its sending dangerous signals to other young women. Please in future say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself. Your body is for you and your boyfriend. It isn’t for every spunk-spewing dirtbag on the net, or every greedy record company executive to buy his mistresses diamonds with.
As for the shedding of the Hannah Montana image.. whoever is telling you getting naked is the way to do that does absolutely NOT respect your talent, or you as a young lady. Your records are good enough for you not to need any shedding of Hannah Montana. She’s waaaaaaay gone by now.. Not because you got naked but because you make great records.
Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The message you keep sending is that its somehow cool to be prostituted.. its so not cool Miley.. its dangerous. Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. we aren’t merely objects of desire. I would be encouraging you to send healthier messages to your peers.. that they and you are worth more than what is currently going on in your career. Kindly fire any motherF****r who hasn’t expressed alarm, because they don’t care about you.
If you appreicate this bold letter, you can go to Sinead's Facebook page and like her. At the time of this blog, she had written letter #3 to Miley, and I myself advised her to let it go.
I could rant about how disrespectful Miley is, but the truth is - she's doing all of this to get attention. Who knows - maybe Sinead is too...but my understanding is, she is trying to raise awareness to possibly everyone who will read this blog. They are both playing "the game" and getting even more exposure now. But after a certain amount of time, all the media will wear off...and guess who will be remembered for doing the right thing?
We will see if Miley pays Sinead the public apology she has requested on her Facebook wall. My guess is - Miley may do it, but not until she gets the amount of media attention she wants.
In the meantime, Sinead will always be a legend regardless. She's been doing the music business since before Miley was born. So at the end of it all, if we wanted to go beyond the lessons in the letter, we can ask ourselves as artists–"what do I want to be remembered or known for?" Everybody knows Sinead as being a talented singer who shaved her head and made a statement in the 80's about not selling out for her looks and being sexualized. She's still around today. Everybody knows Miley for de-volving into a sleezier version of Hanna Montana.
My question - now that Miley's actions have upset Sinead, who do you feel is empowered here?
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Here is one of my favorite songs of all time by Sinéad O'Conne, written by Prince.